By Gary Hatigeva
WORK on proposals for the re-establishing the Development Bank of Solomon Islands (DBSI) is ongoing, with a draft bill now laid in parliament for the Bills and Legislation Committee to look at, says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Manasseh Sogovare.
This, the Finance Minister revealed on the floor of Parliament when asked during a question and answer session when Parliament resumed yesterday morning.
In the Q&A session, Leader of the Official Opposition and Member of Parliament for East Malaita, Manasseh Maelanga questioned the government on the status of its proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements for the re-establishment of DBSI.
The Opposition Leader also questioned the government on who will run the operations and whether the proposal for reopening of the institution will include any private investor.
In his response, the Finance Minister explained that a draft bill on the reestablishment has been sent up to parliament for the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) to look into it.
In response to the issue of operation and shares, Sogavare further explained that the bank will be fully owned by the Solomon Islands government, with the option to give shares to any other interested party that are credible, based on the government’s assessment.
“The government will be opted to give shares, but it (DBSI) will be fully owned by the government,” the Deputy Prime Minister reiterated.
Parliament was also told that the government had to look into proposals for a change in the name of the bank to the Rural Development Bank of Solomon Islands, but revealed that after reviewing the intentions, Sogavare added that the decision was to adopt the same name, “which will continue to be the Development Bank of Solomon Islands”.
Meanwhile, in a supplementary question, the Leader of the Independent group and Member of Parliament for Northeast Guadalcanal, Dr Derick Sikiua pointed out that if the bank was to be fully owned by the government as explained by the Finance Minister, he questioned how the government will be able to raise capitals to establish and run this bank
However, when responding to the question of raising capitals for the re-establishment of the Development Bank, Sogavare clarified that the issue of funds for the establishment is well covered in the bill.
“Provisions in the act will give recommendations to the minister who will then look into application but approvals will be based on guidelines in the legislation,” the Finance Minister further clarified.